Finding the Best (Rental) Home for You and Your Furry Friend

Posted by Safeco April 30, 2015

Tips for Pet Owners Who Rent

Pet-Friendly Housing

Searching for the perfect apartment has always been a bit of a challenge. And, if you’re looking to bring your pet along, it can be even more difficult.

Many landlords either don’t allow pets or they place restrictions on the type, size and breed — even in rental houses where space isn’t an issue.

Of course, leaving your pet behind isn’t an option. So, how can you find a place that allows pets or convince a landlord to accept yours? What about helping your pet get comfortable once you’re there? And, is there anything else you should be thinking about?

Here are some tips to help you and your pet get moving!

Finding Pet-Friendly Housing

According to the Humane Society, you should start your search for a pet-friendly apartment as soon as possible. You want to make sure you and your pet are welcome, but you also want it to be a good fit. Key things to keep in mind:

  • Check your lease. Don’t assume you can have a pet because you see others on the property. Ideally, your lease should say you can keep a pet; at the very least, make sure it doesn’t say “no pets allowed.” Make sure that any fees or deposits are spelled out.
  • Try negotiating. Even if there is a “no pets” policy, ask the landlord about it. Would he/she consider allowing your pet if you paid an additional deposit or a monthly fee?
  • Show your pet’s best side. Have you lived with your pet in a rental before? Provide a letter of reference from your most recent landlord. Has your dog completed a training class? Is he up to date on shots? Bring documentation.
  • Know your rights. Check to see if your community has restrictions regarding specific breeds, etc., as those laws will override whatever the lease says. If your pet meets the legal qualifications of an assistance animal, you may have a right to keep it no matter what.

Helping Pets Feel at Home

Moving isn’t easy for anybody, and it can be particularly hard on pets, who don’t understand what is happening. Here are some ideas from AARP on helping your pet transition:

  • Stick with the routine. If your pet is used to a specific schedule for feeding, walks, bedtime, etc., don’t change it. Consistency will help ease the adjustment.
  • Bring their favorites. Old toys, beds, treats and other things will create a familiar environment.
  • Think about safety. Your pets may be scared and might even try to run away. Keep them on a leash (even cats) when outside for the first few days, and make sure they have identification and a microchip with your current contact information.
  • Be patient, and give extra attention. Your pets don’t know why they’re in a new space, and they need time to get used to it, just as you do. So give them that time. While you’re at it, a few extra cuddles and treats won’t hurt.

Other Things to Consider

  • Insurance: You probably already know that you should purchase renters insurance for your possessions (which the landlord’s policy won’t cover). But, homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies may cover dog-bite liability, as well. Companies often have breed or size restrictions when it comes to liability coverage, so check your policy.
  • Emergency Kit: Update your pet first aid kit as part of your move to replace any expired supplies and replenish anything that’s running low.
  • Neighbors: Not everyone is an animal lover, so be the best neighbor you can be. Respond promptly to any complaints, and try to compromise whenever possible. Also be cautious introducing your dog to small children and other animals for the first time. Assume parents have not taught their children how to be safe around dogs.

Living with a pet is a rewarding experience that shouldn’t be limited to homeowners. With a little extra legwork, and a little extra TLC, you and your pet can both find a great place to rent and enjoy it together.


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Topics: Renting

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